Anchorage News Daily, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A., By ANNE AURAND, February 21st, 2005
Surgeons reattached an Anchorage man's penis over the weekend after his girlfriend, apparently upset over a pending breakup, cut it off with a kitchen knife, Anchorage police said Sunday.
A city wastewater utility worker recovered the penis from a toilet down which the woman had flushed it. It was rushed to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where doctors performed reattachment surgery early Sunday morning, according to police reports.
Police said the knife attack occurred during an argument involving the 44-year-old man wanting out of the relationship. The woman drove the man to the hospital after the attack.
Police arrested Kim Tran, 35, Sunday morning at the bloodied home where the attack occurred. She was arraigned Sunday afternoon on charges of domestic violence assault and tampering with evidence and remains in jail with no bail set.
Neither drugs nor alcohol was involved in the attack, but it did involve a triangle of relationships, according to police spokeswoman Anita Shell.
The man, whom police would not identify, was married to Tran's aunt, Shell said. All three had lived together for a while, during which time Tran and the man had a relationship for at least a year, Shell said. The man moved out of the home on Moose Run Circle sometime recently, but Tran and the aunt still live together, she said.
"The aunt was aware of the relationship, and it was causing problems," Shell said. She would not release the aunt's name. Police don't know where the aunt was when the assault occurred, she said.
The man wanted to break up with Tran, but the woman resisted that idea, Shell said. The two were arguing about the issue sometime before midnight Saturday, but at some point they decided to have sex.
After he allowed Tran to tie his arms to the window handle above the bed, she pulled the kitchen knife and severed his penis, Shell said. The man's testicles remained attached, she said.
Tran flushed the penis down the toilet, untied the man and drove him to the hospital, according to police reports. She parked in a no-parking zone while she walked into the emergency room with the victim, who was conscious and able to walk, but shaking and in shock, Shell said.
After finding a nurse, Tran said she was leaving to move her car but drove home instead, Shell said.
Police rushed to the home and found her cleaning up the bloody scene. A trail of blood stretched through the house, Shell said.
Police got the details about what had happened to the penis. They summoned the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility to see if it could be recovered.
"AWWU pulled the toilet from the base, tipped it into the tub and it fell out," Shell said. The penis had been lodged in the "S" curve of the toilet for more than two hours. Officials put it on ice and drove it to the emergency room.
The AWWU worker who was summoned to the scene declined to be interviewed Sunday. AWWU general manager Mark Premo said utility staff work around the clock to be available for emergencies.
Around 6 a.m., about six hours after the knife attack, hospital officials said the surgery was successful, according to police reports. A hospital spokeswoman would not discuss anything about the case or the patient Sunday.
Shell said she's never heard of such a case here. In fact, she doesn't know of it ever happening except for the famous Lorena Bobbitt case in 1993 in Virginia.
Bobbitt cut off her abusive husband's penis, then drove away and flung it out her car window. The penis was located and reattached. But Bobbitt claimed she had been raped and abused, and Shell said physical abuse did not appear to be a part of the Anchorage case.
"This was, if anything, more of a mental anguish," Shell said.
The surgery used to reattach a penis is the same kind of surgery used to reattach a severed finger but far less common, said Dr. Sarah Troxel, a local plastic surgeon.
The procedure is called micro-vascular surgery, and it requires reattaching blood vessels, the urethra and other parts under a microscope. She went through training for microsurgery at Stanford.
With fingers, "if the blood vessels take, and the finger doesn't die ... with a good surgeon and a clean cut, it's not unusual that they survive."
But in the case of penises, she said, the function of the urethra after the surgery could be a problem.
"I'd say it's more likely that it might not work very well," she said.